Middlesbrough illustrator nominated for Waterstones book prize

Sally Agar drawingHandout

A Teesside illustrator who was inspired by her home town has been shortlisted for a children’s book prize.

Sally Agar, from Middlesbrough, is nominated with author Marcela Ferreira for The Queen Next Door.


Ms Agar said she was “over the moon” to be shortlisted for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

The contest is now in its 20th year, with 18 books nominated across three categories.

Ms Agar, who is currently based in North Yorkshire after living in Stockholm for 10 years, said her love of pattern had inspired “a lot of the decorative elements of the book”.

The Queen Next Door is her first picture book.

“I also took inspiration from my environment; the houses in the town scene are all drawn from my home town, and the floor patterns are taken from nearby Fountains Abbey”, she added.

“The cat is based on my childhood cat, Pete, and I also drew myself and my son amongst the cast of different characters.”

‘Something for every child’

Ms Agar is nominated for the Illustrated Books category of the prize.

The winners from each category will then compete for the overall title of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner 2024.

Waterstones’ Head of Books Bea Carvalho said the shortlist was “stunning”.

“There is something for every child here, with books both to encourage new readers and to challenge already passionate bookworms,” she added.

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